esports: $250,000 prize pool at stake in SEA-based collegiate ML tournament series

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2021 04:01 PM

esports: $250,000 prize pool at stake in SEA-based collegiate ML tournament series 1
The Philippines next plays Malaysia in the SEA Games Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA - A collegiate Southeast Asian-based tournament series co-organized by Filipinos is in the works, with a prize pool of over $250,000 at stake. 

The Cyberathlete Collegiate Mobile Legends Series (CCML), organized by Singapore-based company Cyberathlete has partnered with the National Esports Federation of Philippines (NESFP) and other esports organizations across Southeast Asia for the tournament. 

Christa Yeo, VP of Marketing and PR of Cyberathlete said they tapped the NESFP first for the tournament, citing the huge market the Philippines has to offer in esports. 

“We are really glad to have the Philippines as support because we do see huge opportunities and potentials in the market. They have sponsors tied in the media. It’s time to give airtime to collegiate life,” Yeo said in a virtual press conference Sunday. 

The series will last for three seasons until 2022, with each season starting with a country qualifier. The country qualifiers for Season 1 will last until July this year. 

The qualified teams will go on a best of 16 regional tryouts afterwards - in which the best 8 teams proceed to the next round. Each team will already get $2000 after progressing to this round. 

The top 2 teams will then compete for the season champion title, where they will win a $50,000 cash prize and automatically qualify for the regional tryouts for the next season. 

The top teams for each season will then duke it out for the $250,000 prize pool in the Grand Finals to be held in December 2022. 

Alvin Juban, NESFP Secretary-General said tournaments will be held in an online setting. However, they are considering holding the finals face-to-face in Singapore if the pandemic situation eases up. 


According to the rules, players per team must be above 18 years old and currently enrolled in one university. They should also have an instructor that will serve as a team handler. 

They must also be able to submit proof of enrollment and a valid school ID. 

Teams will also sign in through the Filipino-developed KALARO app, a tournament platform concentrated on Southeast Asian tournaments. 

Juban said they chose the platform because of its accessibility. 

“We have to submit other things besides their personal data, pictures and student IDs. So we have been coordinating with them to “please add this feature” and they did just to accommodate our league. We’re convinced that just by the registration point we’re convinced that this thing works,” Juban said. 

The organizers are also planning to orient teachers who will serve as team handlers. 

Juban said there are plans to disseminate more info for teachers who will serve as the team handlers for them to further grasp the tournament’s goal. 

"We do plan to disseminate that information, especially on the teacher part. We hope that the message will come across in written form because we are expecting a huge amount of applicants. And we should give particular attention to explaining the role of the team handler to them," Juban said. 

There are also plans to scratch on previous contacts of teams who have played in their collegiate tournaments, Ron Fruel, Tournament Organizer, said, citing how the teacher requirement “adds a layer” for teams to get qualified for the tourney. 

"We have marketing collaterals ready for that one. It’s just the matter of so many schools in the Philippines, it’s not an easy task to disseminate the information. Since we have the teachers who are properly onboarded and normally students would just find a tournament format and just find and register on [their] own," Fruel added. 

Organizers are looking to organize similar tournaments for other game titles as well.